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“K” is for Kingstree

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“K” is for Kingstree (Williamsburg County; 2020 population: 3,244). The seat of Williamsburg County, Kingstree was founded at the site of a large white pine tree on the east bank of the Black River where an early explorer chopped an arrow, marking it as the “King’s Tree.” This became the center of Williamsburg Township. With the establishment of Williamsburg District in 1804, Kingstree became the district seat of justice. In 1823 Robert Mills designed “a handsome brick courthouse” for the district. The town’s swampy location made malaria endemic, which hindered its early development. With the arrival of the railroad from Charleston, Kingstree received an economic boost. The village of Kingstree was incorporated in 1866. In the early twentieth century two tobacco sales warehouses were operating in the town. By 1940 Kingstree had become a major tobacco market.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.